A big thank you from the mayor, more testing for key workers + local advice

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Message from the Mayor

If ever the phrase ‘we can’t thank you enough’ was relevant and important, it sure is now.

Like millions of people across the country, I was joined by so many of you last night to clap for our carers and say a sincere thank you to key workers and everyone pitching in to help us get through this challenging time.

I've also published a video message alongside members of my Cabinet to give special thanks to those who are working so hard to keep our communities safe and supported:

Cabinet thank you message

So many frontline workers, council staff, partner organisations, businesses and volunteers are making a real difference to the nation’s effort to stay at home and protect the NHS. I’ve seen so much of this for myself, and will always be grateful to those who have played their part - including everyone who is making a huge difference by simply staying at home.

I'd like to remind you that NHS support is still in place to help you whatever your health and wellbeing needs. GPs and the NHS are ‘open for business’. We know some of you may be worried about putting strain on health services but this is absolutely not the case, so please don’t delay accessing treatment. There are also strict infection prevention measures in place, so it is safe to attend routine appointments unless you have been advised otherwise.

From health to communities, it's really important that we commemorate important events such as Altab Ali Day on Monday, which represents a poignant reminder of how unchallenged intolerance and hate can lead to the violent loss of innocent lives.

You can also read about how the council is offering support at ths difficult time to some of our most marginalised residents regardless of their immigration status.

Thank you again to everyone who is staying home to protect the NHS. Please keep it up over the weekend.

Stay safe, 

Mayor Biggs

NHS campaign

Non-coronavirus NHS support continues for all

The NHS is making it clear that despite the crucial focus on treating those with coronavirus, you should not feel that you cannot get in touch if you're concerned about another worrying health issue.

So although how we access our GPs will have changed, such as to online or telephone consultations, our fantastic health professionals remain ready to support us to stay fit and well. 

You also can find out more about this from local GP and Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chair, Dr Sam Everington.


Your immigration status shouldn't stop you seeking help

We’re proud that our residents come from countries right across the world. Some have become UK citizens, some now have permanent residency, but there are many who have a more temporary immigration status that might mean they wouldn’t normally be able to access financial and other support from the government or the council.

This virus doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. As we respond to the pandemic, visit our website to find out about support available no matter what your immigration status. 

Find out more >

Testing for coronavirus

More testing for key workers and their households

The government has recently announced that more people are now able to get a coronavirus test. This extension includes all essential NHS and social care workers with symptoms, anyone over 65, certain key workers with symptoms (who cannot work from home), and anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above.

If you think that you or someone in your household may qualify for testing, check the government website for more information and to arrange for a test.

Find out more >

Houses of multiple occupancy

Support for private renters and landlords

The government has introduced new protections to avoid tenants being evicted or facing repossession proceedings during the coronavirus crisis.

Landlords have been advised to take a considerate approach to financial challenges, including offering payment plans as appropriate.

While most landlords and property owners are being responsible, we have had reports of some who are ignoring the protections and putting unacceptable pressure on tenants. 

Read more >

Celebrity video

Powerful new message from British-Asian celebrities

Many well-known British-Asian faces came together recently to send out an important message on how to stay safe.

A second version has been released this week featuring even more familiar faces, including actress Archie Panjabi (pictured above) and prominent British Bangladeshi television figures Nadiya Hussain, Lisa Aziz and Konnie Huq.

Please watch and share the video to help reach our diverse communities with this crucial advice.

Watch the video >

Altab Ali

Celebrating community cohesion as we remember Altab Ali

On Monday 4 May we will remember Altab Ali, a young Bengali man whose brutal murder in Whitechapel in 1978 mobilised the whole of our community to take a stand against racial intolerance. 

To keep alive the vital messages about community cohesion and Tower Hamlets being No Place for Hate, we announced in 2015 that we would mark Altab Ali Day annually.

This year, we are commemorating this important moment online. This includes the launch of a free new resource for young people called The Fight for Equality, as well as a short film to watch at home called Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane

We are also urging people to sign our No Place for Hate pledge.

More on Altab Ali >


Celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day from home

This time next week will be VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, which marks the end of World War II fighting against Nazi Germany and the war in Europe. This year also marks the 75th anniversary.

While many of the pre-planned community events have been postponed or cancelled, the nation can still celebrate in a variety of ways from home.

How to mark VE Day >

Blowing a kiss to loved one

Send a message to your loved one in hospital 

Barts Health NHS Trust has launched a new way for residents to communicate with their loved ones in hospital.

You can create a thinking of you message to let someone know you're thinking of them during this worrying time. Photos can also be included. All responses will be printed off and shared each day.

Just a reminder that visitor restrictions remain in place across hospitals, so please read the latest NHS guidance before planning a visit.

Visiting hospitals >

Business support

Business support grants are still available

Your business may be eligible for government support due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday 29 April, we had delivered business rate relief worth £98,758,340 to 3,207 businesses as well as grants of £10,000 to 2,578 small businesses and grants of £25,000 to a further 1,259 businesses.

We are reaching out to a further 1,356 businesses that have not yet provided us with their bank details in order to receive support grants. These businesses need to provide their bank account details and upload a current copy of a bank statement to the council's secure 'MyAccount' portal.

We have made good progress and in the last week alone, have arranged the transfer of almost £10,000,000 in support grants, but we want to support other businesses that qualify as soon as we can.

Read more >

Foot tunnel

Reminder: Greenwich foot tunnel closed this weekend

Please be aware, Greenwich Council has decided to close the foot tunnel to all users this weekend from 10pm on Friday 1 May until 10pm on Sunday 3 May.

This is to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and prevent crowds of people making non-essential journeys. Prior to this weekend, the tunnel was open to key workers only.

Crossing the river for unavoidable and essential journeys will still be possible on the DLR, which allows bicycles onboard during weekends, bank holidays and at off peak times.

Read more >

Coronavirus: useful links

Thank you for reading

We hope you have found this bulletin useful. Share this with your family and friends to ensure they have the latest advice on coronavirus.

Anyone can subscribe using this link

Updates in other languages

If you know someone who would like to receive updates in Bengali, they can subscribe to 'Bengali newsletter' for news and advice in Bengali. 

The government is also publishing advice in a range of languages on its website.